Full Summary: Season 4. Christmas has nearly arrived at the White House but everyone is still working. A blocked Toby and an inquisitive CJ discover the true meaning of the 'real thing' while Josh and Donna debate over a book. (possible JD pairing)
Spoilers: up until Holy Night, Season 4
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, none of the West Wing characters featured in this story belong to me. They belong to their creator, Aaron Sorkin. The wonderful character Thursday Next belongs to Jasper Fforde. Credit for the character and the book from which she came from is at the end of the story.
The Power of Literature
Sunday. Six days before Christmas Day.
The incessant ringing of the phone beside Donna's bedside table woke her up with a jump.
"Donna?" Josh's voice asked urgently as soon as she picked it up.
"Yes Josh?" Donna asked tiredly, glancing at the clock. 6.30a.m. what the hell was he doing calling her at this hour?!
"I need the report on the thing," Josh said immediately.
"It's in your backpack, inside pocket." Donna reminded him, yawning loudly.
"Oh…yeah…I forgot about that." Josh laughed over the line. "So, how are you doing?"
"Josh, do you know what time it is?" Donna demanded.
"Time to get up," Josh replied smugly
"Please tell me you're not in your office." Donna groaned. She felt Jack nudge her. She knew any minute now Jack was going to tell her to hang up as he knew what was coming.
"Yeah, kind of," Josh said mysteriously.
Donna sighed and sat up. "What do you mean, 'kind of."
"Well, I'm in an office, but not in my office."
"It's too early for this game Josh. What's going on?"
"Ok, ok. I'm in Toby's office."
"Why are you not screaming in pain right now?" Donna asked, grinning.
"Huh, funny Donnatella. Here's what's happened. Will Bailey called Toby Friday night explaining that he's got a 103 degree temperature so he won't be able to startwork on the Inauguration speech this weekend…"
"Toby called me last night begging for help," Josh continued, chuckling.
Donna widened her eyes. "Toby? Begging for help?" she gasped out, beginning to laugh too.
"I know! After torturing him on the phone for 20 minutes I agreed to come in this morning to help out with the speech. He just needs someone to proof-read a few rough drafts. I never thought Toby would be that desperate to want to work with me…"
"You want me to come in?" Donna interrupted. She heard Jack groan beside her. "It's Sunday Josh."
"It'll only be for a couple of hours, I promise." Josh pleaded.
"Tell me in real time."
"Ok, more like the whole day, but come on, it'll be fun!" Josh exclaimed.
"How can helping Toby to write an Inauguration speech be fun?"
"We're not writing we're just…"
"…proof-reading it, yes." Donna finished, rolling her eyes. "That does not make it any better Josh."
"Yes it does." Josh retorted, laughing.
"Think about it. Toby never usually lets us read his rough drafts of speeches. Only Sam had that pleasure and now Will. If we get together today we can point out every single spelling and grammar mistake Toby does. We'll see how far we can push him."
"You are pure evil Joshua. Toby would blow a fuse."
"I know. That's what the funny part is. Say you'll come in."
Donna sighed and looked over at Jack. He rubbed his face tiredly. "I don't mind. Go in and help." He told her, looking disappointed.
"I'll make it up to you." Donna promised.
"Until the next time it happens," Jack grumbled.
"Donnatella?" Josh asked over the phone, "Who's that talking in the background?"
"Nobody Josh," Donna snapped slightly.
"Oh, is it sailor boy?"
"Don't call him that."
"Call him what?"
"You know very well 'what'." Donna warned. "It's got nothing to do with you."
"Hey, I set the two of you up!" Josh pointed out.
"I know. You did something right for once." Donna teased.
"I did?" Donna frowned at the response. Josh sounded a little too disappointed.
"Yes, you did." She replied.
Donna decided to change the subject. She didn't like 'distant' Josh. "What time do you need me in?"
"I don't know…whatever." Josh said quietly.
"Josh? What's wrong?"
"What time do you need me in?" She repeated, confused.
"Actually, I don't need you in after all," Josh said suddenly, "Toby and I will be all set without you."
"What? Josh, you woke me up at 6.30a.m! You can't just ask me to come in and then change your mind."
"Well, maybe you should spend the day with your boyfriend, since he's at your apartment." Josh shot at her.
"Josh, you're really confusing me now. Jack knows I need to go in and he's fine with it. I'll be there in half an hour, ok?"
"No, it's ok, spend the day with Jack."
"No it isn't ok. I know it isn't. You and Toby need me in, right? I want to help you out…" Donna got out of bed, trying to ignore the confused looks from Jack.
"You want to help me?" Josh asked lightly.
"That's…really great Donna." Josh said softly. "Thanks."
"No problem." Donna said quietly, suddenly feeling her heart beating faster.
"It's going to be fun you know."
Donna grinned. "I know."
She hung up and started to put some clothes on.
"Did Josh change his mind about you coming in?" Jack asked suddenly, sitting up. Donna looked over at him and felt a twinge of guilt. He looked so hurt.
"Um…" It was all she could think to say.
"But you said you're going in anyway?" Jack continued curiously.
"Yes." Donna said quietly.
"I see." Jack nodded and looked away.
"I'm sorry." Donna said softly.
Jack looked back up at her and smiled painfully. "No need to apologise. You do what you've gotta do."
At that moment, Donna knew she was losing Jack. Deep down, she wasn't too unhappy about it.
Many hours later, Donna and Josh were still holed up in Toby's office reading every single draft of the speech and trying to give helpful opinions to the frustrated Communications Director. Before long, the night sky began to drift over the White House.
"Josh Lyman, will you stop singing that crazy, hyped up, so called 'popular' anthem?" Toby snapped.
Donna grinned. "Anthem?" she questioned.
"I refuse to call it a 'song'. It's an insult to the industry."
"Hey, come on, it's nearly Christmas!" Josh exclaimed, "How can you not enjoy 'we wish it could be Christmas everyday?"
Toby clapped his hands over his ears. "Because who, in the name of all sanity, would want Christmas to be everyday?!"
"Ahh come on Toby, where's your spirit?" A voice asked at the office door.
"Mr President!" Josh exclaimed, immediately standing up. Donna and Toby followed his actions.
"Oh please, keep your seats," Jed said, waving his hands around impatiently.
"What can we do for you Sir?" Toby asked, sitting down behind his desk again. Donna and Josh took up their previous positions on the floor.
"Well I was taking a walk through the grounds with Ron Butterfield just now and I happened to notice a light on in the West Wing. Naturally, it being the kind of warm Sunday evening that no-one in their right minds would miss, I assumed I was seeing things. A reflection, perhaps? Then Ron said he could see the same thing. So, I asked myself, just who could be doing something so important at this time of night? On a Sunday! And what do I see, well Toby Ziegler I see! And Joshua Lyman and Donna Moss. We should all follow such dedication."
"Sir, my temporary assistant speech-writer, Will Bailey, is quite ill this weekend," Toby explained, "And the Inauguration is getting nearer. I needed some help with the speech today."
"Toby, when is the last time you took a day off?" Jed asked, smiling in amusement.
"Not in a while Sir," Toby muttered.
"And will you be likely to finish the speech tonight?" Jed prompted.
"With these two helping? I think not." Toby replied dryly.
"Hey!" Josh piped up angrily. "I've just proof-read 20 pages for you."
"It took you all day Josh. Will can do it in10 minutes!"
"Did you actually say something good about your new speechwriter just then Toby?" Jed asked with a broad smile on his face.
"Well, in slight defence of my reputation at being harsh on new employees of the West Wing, Will can only read a 20 page draft in10 minutes because he isn't likely to be throwing a rubber ball at his assistant at the same time!" Toby said, glaring at Josh and Donna.
"Josh and Donna were throwing a rubber ball at each other?" Jed asked, his lips twitching a little.
"Are you referring to that red round thing on your desk?" Jed continued.
"Yes…" Toby said slowly.
"Isn't that yours?"
"Well…yes. I use it to throw at Sam's old office window. When Will is better and able to come to the White House, he shall take it over for a while. At least there'll be someone next door to get the attention of."
"You really need a night off Toby." Jed said, shaking his head. He rubbed his hands together and looked at his three members of staff.
"As we're all here talking, why don't you three come on down to the residence and have dinner with Abbey and I?" he suggested now.
"Oh Sir we couldn't possibly intrude…"
"Crap Josh, you know Abbey would love to have you." Jed interrupted him. He noticed Donna standing to one side, looking awestruck.
"And wherever Josh is, Abbey expects to see Donna too." He added, smiling warmly at the now shy-looking assistant standing right beside Josh.
"Thank you Sir… that would be wonderful." Donna said quietly, smiling.
"Well, if everyone else is going to say yes," Toby deadpanned, his eyes twinkling ever so slightly.
"Then it's a done deal," Jed said, looking pleased. "While we're at it, let's see if CJ is free too. If one of you could call her…?"
"I'll do it." Josh volunteered.
"When you've done that, call Will and tell him to get down here, temperature or not!" Jed added, raising his eyebrows mock-threateningly.
"I don't think he's going to be too happy Sir," Josh told him, grinning widely.
"Tell him that if he refuses my invitation I can dispatch the best team of secret agents to his apartment and they can drag him here by the ankles!" Jed called over his shoulder as he walked off.
CJ wandered around the spacious area of the White House residence, taking in her colleagues enjoying each other's company. Earlier that night, the President had arranged a large dinner table to be placed in the centre of the room. The generous meal was now finished and everyone apart from Toby, who had controversially bought rough copies of the speech with him, had got up and spread out around the room. Toby had got out a pen to begin re-reading and checking a previously discarded piece of paper.
On one side of the room by the patio doors, a pale but nonetheless still enthusiastic looking Will was in the middle of a heated debate with Abbey about censorship and freedom of speech.
Leo, who had arrived at the last minute with the intention of having one of his 'catch-ups' with the President, was standing by one of the comfortable chairs near the TV and staring at something with a strange smile on his face.
The President had also invited Charlie to the gathering and they were now in the middle of reminiscing Charlie's first day at the White House.
CJ herself had decided to follow Leo's amused gaze, feeling intrigued by it. Leo rarely smiled these days and a few weeks ago she would have been concerned about it had it not been for a certain white house reporter revealing a 'few things'. CJ resolved to talk to Leo some day aboutDanny's evidenceof a successful assassination attempt on Shareef, but now wasn't the time.
Leo appeared to be smiling at something that was happening outside just beyond the patio doors. She peered closely through the windows and what she saw made her smile just as widely as Leo.
All night the President had been playing Christmas songs in the room. Most of them had been the kind of jingles that Toby had been complaining about all month, but now the tracks had changed to the old classics. And right now, outside in freezing temperatures, Josh and Donna were dancing slowly to Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
CJ caught Leo's eye and they grinned at each other. Josh was holding Donna as close to him as he possibly could, his right arm around her waist and his left hand holding Donna's left hand to his chest. Donna had her right arm wrapped around his shoulder, keeping her head tucked firmly under his chin. It was a touching moment to witness and CJ felt her eyes filling with tears.
Through the years we all will be together
If the fates allow
CJ whispered the lyrics to the song, wondering if Josh and Donna will still be together long after the Bartlet administration was finished. They would be if Josh would only swallow his pride at some point and tell his assistant that she was the love of his life.
"Kind of gets to you doesn't it?" Toby asked quietly behind her shoulder.
CJ turned around in surprise. "Not as dedicated as the President said, huh?" she asked, smiling wryly.
Toby smiled faintly through his beard. "I've spent the last hour trying to come up with a paragraph that describes the 'real thing' without openly suggesting it to be the President."
"That's difficult. You don't want President Bartlet to sound arrogant. Have you had any success with it?" CJ asked, grinning at the dour look on her colleague's face.
"No, halfway through my thoughts I came to the realisation the real thing was right in front of me. Its that." he pointed over to Josh and Donna. "That's the real thing, right over there. How can you put it into words?"
"Idiot boy and his assistant is the real thing?" CJ asked, laughing. "Maybe we started the wrong campaign."
"You're not getting it." Toby snapped, frustrated.
"No, I get it." CJ corrected quickly. She looked over at Josh and Donna. "You're right. You can't put it into words what those two have, but it's what everyone in America most wants."
"Do you think they know they have it?"
"Josh knows. I don't know about Donna." Leo commented, walking over to his gossiping staffers.
"I really thought that when I met Andi, we had it," Toby said, shaking his head. "I still love her, but if we were to re-marry…would we be dancing together in a dark, cold backyard? I don't know anymore."
"Josh and Donna are dancing because it's the only way they can express themselves to each other," Leo explained, "They can't exactly rip each other's clothes off in the White House, can they?"
CJ chuckled. "I bet they sure as hell want to."
Toby groaned. "I think they call it unresolved sexual tension these days."
"Well, whatever, but I think it's more romantic what they're doing now." Leo told him, smiling.
"It's just so sad." CJ said, shaking her head. "They are both so desperate to be together. Can't we just put them out of their misery now and to hell with the consequences?"
"It's something to think about." Toby agreed, "There isn't going to be another election; we've got four more years. It wouldn't be as much of a problem."
"It's too soon," Leo stated, frowning. "They do 18 hour days at the White House. They don't have the time to build a relationship. I think the unspoken mutual love is enough for now."
"The 'unspoken mutual love'?" Toby questioned, his lips twitching.
"Josh has realised for a few weeks now that Donna means more to him than he previously thought. He is in no hurry to start a relationship with anyone else; he's just going to wait for Donna."
"For another four years?" CJ asked in amazement.
"For another four years." Leo echoed. "Definitely the real thing, wouldn't you say?"
"Ever get the feeling you're being talking about?" Josh whispered in Donna's ear.
Donna lifted her head and smiled, squeezing Josh's hand affectionately. "You mean those three over there?" she asked, looking over his shoulder.
"I spotted them a few minutes ago." Josh grinned at Donna. "Are you good at lip-reading?"
Donna shifted her eyes away from the building and rolled her eyes at him. "No. When have I ever indicated to you that I knew how to lip-read?"
"I thought you said you knew everything?" Josh asked, arching an eyebrow mockingly.
"Not lip-reading!" Donna exclaimed; "if I knew how to do that, I wouldn't be your assistant right now."
"Oh, really?" Josh enquired teasingly, "and what would you be?"
"I'd be a spy like my heroine Thursday Next."
"Is this another one of your 'characters'?"
"Well…not my character. She's from a book I've read."
"Oh god," Josh rolled his eyes. "What have you learned this time?"
"Nothing. This is a complete work of fiction. Thursday Next plays a Literary Detective in a book called The Eyre Affair."
"A literary detective?" Josh twitched his lips in amusement, "very alluring." He added sarcastically.
"She wasn't supposed to be alluring Josh," Donna scolded; "she was a very independent woman."
"So what is a literary detective?"
"It's someone who works for the Special Operations Network. Her department is known as SO-27. They have to find stolen pieces of original manuscript."
"Is that it?" Josh grinned. "Why would anyone want to hunt for stolen books?"
"In Thursday's world, there is a guy called Acheron Hades who steals characters from books and holds them to ransom."
Josh let out a huge laugh. "This is getting better. Then what? He kills the character I suppose?"
"Donna! I was messing with you. That's what actually happened?"
"Never underestimate the powers of Acheron Hades." Donna said seriously.
Josh stopped dancing and took Donna's hand. "I think I should take you inside before you actually persuade me to read the damn thing."
"Oh you really should read it."
"I'll never have the time." Josh pointed out, leading them back into the Bartlet residence.
"Yes you will," Donna insisted, "read it at the weekends."
"I work at the weekends."
"Not every weekend."
"Enough weekends to not find the time to read fantasy books Donna."
"You don't know what you're missing. Don't you want to know if Thursday catches Acheron or not?"
"You're not even the tiniest bit curious?" Donna teased, a smile playing around on her lips.
"No." Josh replied, glaring at her. Then he suddenly thought of something. "In order to become a literary detective, did Thursday have to learn how to lip-read?"
"Actually, no," Donna confessed. "There are no skills required, other than being slightly weird to want to be part of the SpecOps in the first place."
"So what was the point of this conversation?" Josh demanded.
"I think knowing how to lip-read would be a wonderful skill for a spy to have." Donna said, shrugging.
"If you're that set on joining the FBI, why don't you just join up with them?" Josh challenged, smirking slightly. "As you said, you don't have to be a lip-reader to be a literary detective!"
"Why not? Are you scared?" Josh met her eyes and smiled.
"No, it's just the FBI doesn't have a literary detectives department." Donna explained; "but maybe if you asked Leo…"
"Is that what this has been all about?" Josh exclaimed, throwing his arms up in the air. "You want me to ask Leo if he can pay more attention to crazy book thieves."
"Yeah, there's no problem with that is there? In this world there are thieves who do that. You do want to reduce crime, don't you?" Donna asked, grinning evilly.
"I can't go to Leo with this. He's gonna think I'm crazy."
"I don't ask for a lot Josh."
"What about last week when you asked for a raise?"
"If you do this for me, I'll learn how to lip-read people who gossip about you." Donna promised, her eyes twinkling.
Josh glared at her and walked over to CJ, Toby and Leo.
"Ahh Josh, nice of you to grace us with your presence at last," CJ told him, smirking.
"Is there a department in the FBI that focuses on hunting for stolen pieces of original manuscripts?" Josh asked Leo.
Leo stared at Josh like he had lost his mind. "No. Why the hell would there be?"
"I don't know. It just sounds interesting. Are they considering opening one up?"
"No, not while there are still murderers on the loose Josh." Toby jumped in, rolling his eyes.
"Are you feeling ok there Josh?" Leo asked, frowning at his protégé in alarm.
"I'm feeling fine." Josh insisted, wondering whether he had been in a situation more embarrassing this. "Donna was telling me about the rise in-in book thefts in America."
Leo lips twitched. "Is this a real problem?" he asked as Toby and CJ snickered.
"To Donna, it is."
"Well Josh, while I'm glad you're finally listening to the opinions of your employees I don't think the FBI would agree that book theft is top priority at the moment." Leo told him, his lips curving up in a wry smile.
"Of course not," Josh replied, his cheeks flushing. "That's what I've been telling her too."
"Yet you still came to us about it." Toby stated dryly.
"It was important to Donna." Josh said, shrugging.
"You must care an awful lot about your assistant to actually have the nerve to go to Leo about this." CJ hinted.
Josh looked impassively at the Press Secretary. "It was a genuine concern of hers. I was merely doing her a favour," He told her, swaggering away from the group.
"He's smitten." CJ commented, shaking her head in amazement.
A while later and everyone was going home for the night.
Leo and Toby walked through the streets together. "Book theft," Leo uttered, rolling his eyes. "God help me sometimes."
"Um… Leo? Call me crazy, but I think there is something we can do to help Donna." Toby said earnestly.
"I am not going to the FBI about this Toby," Leo said firmly. "I'll lose the respect of the entire government."
"It's got nothing to do with the FBI." Toby promised; "let me talk to Josh and Will and I'll fill you in later."
Leo looked at Toby doubtfully. "What are you up to?"
"Just leave it to us." Toby told him, pulling out his cell phone and dialling a number. "Will? It's Toby. Yeah, I'm fine. Listen, before you have to leave, how would you like to experience the great advantages of working for someone influential?"
Six days later, Christmas Eve, 9pm
"Oh my god!" Donna shouted, running into Josh's office.
Josh looked up from a file he had been reading and smiled innocently at Donna. "Yes Donnatella?"
Donna smiled at Josh, pointing a finger accusingly at him. "You're behind this."
"Behind what?" Josh asked, keeping a neutral expression on his face, "I'm behind my desk, if that's what you're talking about."
Donna groaned exasperatingly and flopped in the visitor's chair behind the desk. "No. You know what I'm really talking about."
Josh stood up, walked round his desk and sat down on the edge of it. "No," he said, smiling in amusement, "tell me what it is that I'm supposed to know."
"I went out to lunch with Margaret today," Donna explained, "and…"
"So that's why I couldn't find you!" Josh burst out, "I was looking everywhere for a file that I need to study for my next meeting on the Hill. It had gone missing."
"You mean the file that is currently sticking out underneath your How to make less enemies book?" Donna asked, pointing to Josh's messy desk.
Josh widened his eyes. "Oh."
"I don't know why I bother creating filing systems for you," Donna told him, sighing. "It just makes everything look worse."
"So, this lunch with Margaret?" Josh asked, changing back to their original discussion.
"Oh, yeah." Donna grinned. "We were walking towards that old library about three blocks from the mall. You know, the Ye Olde Books? It's my favourite building in Washington."
"I know," Josh said, rolling his eyes. "You tell me often enough."
"The building has had a rise in book thefts recently," Donna continued, "Danny wrote an article about it in the Post. A Charles Dickens manuscript was stolen from the 'classics' section a while ago."
"Yeah…are you anywhere near to finishing this story?" Josh asked, folded his arms.
"Ok. Ok. The problem with the library is that they have no proper system for borrowing and returning books. The owners just have no idea who takes them out and when they're going to return them. At least they didn't know until earlier this week. I went in there today and they have a fully working computerised system for their book lending service! They now know the details of every single member of their library. It's great! No-one can ever steal their books again!" Donna grinned at Josh, "There's just one thing I'm confused about…"
"Oh yes?" Josh asked, smiling down at her.
Donna got up out of her seat and stood up close to Josh. "The library has hadclosure threatsfor months now. Until this week they had no money to buy new books let alone installing a professional computer system into the building! So how did they manage it I wonder?"
"They may have had a donation…" Josh murmured.
"Really?" Donna asked in mock-surprise. She smiled softly at Josh. "Who made the donation?"
"Um…maybe a group of certain influential White House employees might have had a close look at their budget and saw that they could use the American people's hard-earned tax money for something worthwhile?" Josh suggested, grinning widely.
"Oh Josh!" Donna flung her arms around his shoulders and hugged him tight. "I can't believe you did that."
Josh wrapped his arms around Donna's waist and tilted his head back to look at her happy face. "Toby and Will got the idea," he admitted, "I just did all the hard work of convincing the President and Leo."
"And they actually said yes?" Donna asked incredulously.
"You know how much of a geek the President is." Josh reminded her. "He didn't hesitate in wanting to help out all the less fortunate public service business' in America. It's not just the libraries we're going to help out."
"What else are you going to do?" Donna whispered, meeting his eyes.
"After the Christmas Break, we're going to introduce a bill where we'll use some of the tax-payer's money to make donations to charities that help out the homeless and the sick. There are gonna be more libraries, hostels, nursing homes, you name it." Josh stroked Donna's hair. "All of them with high security and top quality care."
"Josh that's just…just brilliant," She paused and sighed happily. She lifted a hand to touch Josh's cheek. After hesitating a second, she kissed him lightly on the lips.
Using one hand to hold onto the desk, Josh used the other arm to pull Donna closer to him. They kissed softly for a couple of minutes before parting breathlessly.
"Donna," Josh breathed hoarsely, "what about Jack?"
"I broke up with him last night." Donna whispered, "When I worked out that you were the one who donated money to the library, I realised I was lying to myself about the way I felt for Jack."
"Donna…I…" Josh paused and swallowed. "I love you." He finished.
"I love you too Josh." Donna said, sighing as she buried her face into his chest.
Josh bought both arms around Donna's waist and held her tightly. "This is gonna work Donna." He whispered. "This is for real now."
Toby and his father were standing watching the choir sing a version of 'O' Holy Night'. Toby smiled as he watched Donna and Josh walk hand-in-hand towards the rest of the assembled staff.
"It worked then?" Toby whispered to Josh.
"Yeah," Josh whispered back, a happy smile spreading upon his face.
Josh squeezed Donna's hand and sighed in content.
"Hey, Donna?" he asked, a sudden thought coming into his head. "What did happen to Thursday Next?"
Donna giggled. "You'll have to read the book to find out Joshua."
"Oh come on," he whined, "it's been on my mind all week."
"Read the book." She stated firmly.
"Come on, just give me a hint." Josh pleaded. "Does the bad guy get a good ass-kicking?"
"I can't tell you Josh." Donna told him.
"Why not?" Josh demanded.
"Will you two keep it down?" CJ hissed from behind. "It's obvious you two are talking about something major but can you leave it until the song has finished?"
"Sorry CJ." Josh whispered. He leaned into Donna's ear. "Why can't you tell me?" he hissed.
"Because I haven't finished the book yet," Donna admitted, blushing.
"What?! I can't believe it!"
"Shut up." Leo snapped.
"I'm only halfway through it," Donna murmured in Josh's ear.
"Well that's just great." Josh grumbled. "Now I'll never know."
"You can always borrow the book from a library." Donna told him, her lips twitching, "since you're such a big supporter of public services."
"I knew you'd use the bill to torment me," Josh bantered.
"You love it really." Donna teased, squeezing his hand.
"Yeah, I do."
:please review! It makes me happy lol:
Credit: Thursday Next is a character from a book called 'The Eyre Affair' following the adventures of a young detective living in a very alternate 1985…Jasper Fforde, you are 'da man' lol
…and I'm halfway through the book myself hehe